Tired of Mocking

When they were finally tired of mocking him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him again. Then they led him away to be crucified.—Mark 15:20 NLT

Smart. Maybe too smart for their own good. Possessing strong opinions. Maybe they can not even fathom anyone with a contrary opinion. Possibly mean-spirited. Maybe too mean to engage others well consistently. People. Made in God’s image. Who Jesus died to rescue. People struggling under sin. In need of grace. People as all of us.

Somewhere along the way we’ve met someone like this. They engage Christ followers not so much in debate to exchange or learn, but for sport. Blinded by pride in their own fallible intelligence they mock our faith.

Somewhere along the way they grow tired of Jesus. They crucify Christ in their own minds seemingly forever dismissing him as a rational possibility for their lives. Scars left by some religious happenstance in their past or unmentioned fear from the unexplainable unknowns of a ubiquitous God. 

Whatever the reason, like the company of soldiers in Mark 15, they grow tired of Jesus. Tired of mocking. Tired of sport. They have other things to do. So they crucify Jesus. And move on with their lives.

Until they meet a Christlike Christ follower—one who lives Christ winsomely attractive, not deadly judgmental—and they are confronted as an honest observers with the reality that Jesus did rise again. Indeed, he lives in us. As much as they have crucified him in their minds and dismissed him for whatever self-justifying reason, we show him alive! 

My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.—Galatians 2:20 NLT

May we be so much like Jesus that others grow tired of mocking. Not to crucify him. But to die to themselves.

Too Smart

Jesus raised his friend Lazarus from the dead (John 11:43-44). The crowds, attracted by Jesus’ power, are more amazed than ever. The Sanhedrin, scared by Jesus’ authority, are more homicidal than ever. The crowds welcome Jesus as King. The Sanhedrin plot to kill him (John 11:53). They made plans to kill Lazarus as well. Too many people believing in Jesus because of him (John 12:10-11).

Jesus raises a man from the dead. The Sanhedrin want to put them both to death. 

Jesus exercises supernatural authority. The Sanhedrin want to protect their temporal authority. 

Now it’s what we know as Palm Sunday. Jesus has made his Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem. The crowds may have seen him as the Messiah come to his people. We see him as the Savior come to all peoples.

John 12:19 records the frustrated words of some Pharisees, members of the Sanhedrin,

See, this is getting us nowhere.

Look how the whole world has gone after him!

The whole world has gone after him.

The whole world.

Every culture in the world, anthropology teaches, have some sort of God or gods. People everywhere—no matter their language or location—know somehow that there is life outside of this life, power beyond know power, and some creator/s that formed humanity and all the earth.

As Romans 1:19-20 says, “Since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”

Not all of of those peoples believe in Jesus. Not all of them have even heard his name. Yet all of them know there is someone or something else.

All except one. One group of people patently deny the existence of God: atheists.

It is a strange phenomenon, however, that there is only place in the whole world of billions of people you find atheists: among the highly educated.

Universities, whose very name come from Latin meaning “one truth” referring directly to biblical revelation, have redefined truth and made it relative. When truth is relative, when the Bible is not authoritative, and when you are adrift in the sea of humanism, you can explain away that which seems contrarian, doesn’t fit your worldview, or makes you uncomfortable.

The whole world may go after him—Jesus—but not you. You can deny him.

Too smart for your own good.

Too smart to know God.